Written answers

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

State Pension (Contributory) Applications

Photo of Tom NevilleTom Neville (Limerick County, Fine Gael)
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615. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will address a matter regarding the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36974/19]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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In late September 2018, my Department began examining the social insurance records of over 90,000 pensioners, born on or after 1 September 1946, who have a reduced rate State pension contributory entitlement based on post Budget 2012 rate-bands.  These payments are being reviewed under a new Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to pension calculation which includes provision for homecaring periods.

The person concerned applied for and was awarded a reduced rate State pension (contributory) from January 2017.  As their spouse was already in receipt of an increase for qualified adult for them at a higher rate, their state pension (contributory) was withdrawn.

A request for information about time spent out of the workforce for parenting or caring reasons was sent to the person concerned on 14 August 2019, with a response period of 3 weeks.  A dedicated helpline to support and assist the person making their online application, or to request a paper application was also provided. 

No response to the request was received.  On 11 September 2019 a deciding officer carried out a review of the pensioners rate of pension based on the information already held by my Department.  Based on this information, the person concerned has 834 reckonable paid contributions, which when combined with 561 HomeCaring periods and 428 reckonable credits, results in a payment rate of 87.64% of the maximum rate of pension.  As the person is already the beneficiary of a rate equivalent to 89.6% of the maximum rate of pension, (or €222.50 per week), they are financially better to remain as a qualified adult on their spouse's pension.

A review outcome letter has issued to the person concerned, which includes a copy of their social insurance contribution record.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.


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